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Honoring Our Veterans

November 9, 2019

Fisher’s campus is home to nearly 40 student-veterans, who range in age from 20 to 54, and study in both Fisher’s undergraduate and graduate programs. On this Veterans Day, hear from some of them about their Fisher experience.

Chad Snowden is one of the nearly 39 student-veterans studying at Fisher.

Chad Snowden is one of the nearly 39 student-veterans studying at Fisher.

Chad Snowden, an undergraduate legal studies major, is a veteran of the United States Army (active duty) and E-6/Staff Sergeant (SSG). He served for 10 years and completed two deployments. The first deployment was to Iraq from 2005 to 2007 with the 1st Armored Division (1AD) and later to the Philippines with the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2011.

Snowden noticed that there was a common thread among local leaders in the Rochester area and this was that they were affiliated with the College, a factor in his decision to attend Fisher. His experience as a student has been one of re-adjusting.

“While in the military, you learn how to normalize things that are not typically considered normal. After leaving, the challenge becomes adjusting back to what is typically considered normal and that can be difficult,” he says. “At Fisher, I feel as if I am learning a whole new aspect of life and have met some really awesome people in my classes and clubs and some truly outstanding professors. It’s my new normal.”

For other veterans thinking about going to college, Snowden says “you have nothing to lose and as much as you can retain to gain. Do it.”

This Veterans Day, he would like to thank the family, friends, and foundation layers that have come before him as well as salute those who will come after him. He notes that it is the love and support of the community that makes all of the difference for service members.

Aaron Esposito, a graduate student at Fisher, served in the Marine Corps for five years as a Sergeant and MV-22 aircraft avionics technician. He completed a 10-month deployment as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2013. This deployment covered the Mediterranean Sea, as well as other waters surrounding the Middle East.

After his experience in the Marine Corps, he was drawn to the College’s accounting program for its “phenomenal reputation within the Rochester area.” He attributes his great experience at Fisher to both Monica Gebhardt, the assistant registrar and veterans coordinator, and professors in the School of Business; namely Professor Laurel Parrilli, who served as Esposito’s advisor and mentor.

His advice to other student veterans: “Don’t wait to get your degree once you separate from the military. Even if you are unsure of what you want to do, the benefits are just too good to pass up. I will have my master’s degree this December and my entire education has been covered by the VA and Fisher, thanks to the yellow ribbon program.”

Undergraduate accounting major Jack Forrest is a United States Army veteran. He served as an infantryman (11B) for a total of 40 months, deploying to Kuwait and Afghanistan from June 2016 to February 2017.

He was familiar with Fisher, as he had previously completed his undergraduate degree in sociology in 2009. His positive experiences with the College, brought him back to Fisher, 10 years later. Forrest knew that he wanted to go back to school after the service, and this time for a more specific degree in accounting. His experiences with Fisher’s business professors, specifically Professor Hugh Lambert, affirmed his decision to focus on accounting. 

He says his experience as a second-time undergraduate at Fisher has been “amazing” and that the professors and advisors on campus have been helpful in his journey. This Veterans Day, Forrest would like to “encourage everyone to attend a parade or ceremony to show support for our nation’s past and current service members.”

Forrest encourages other student veterans to work hard and not be afraid to ask for help. “Use your campus resources as much as possible - there are plenty of great people on campus to help you with anything (this includes professors, academic advisors, veteran representatives, clubs, etc.).”

The College would like to thank all of the student, faculty, and staff veterans as well as their families for their dedication and service to the country. Look for “Thank You” posters in various locations all week and leave your message of thanks. Or use #FisherVetsStrong to share your message via social media.